As a freelancer, you have nearly endless potential to boost your income. After all, earning more when you’re self-employed is directly tied to how hard you work. Taking steps to reduce spending while also improving your business approach is the key to maintaining upward momentum. While freelance success isn’t guaranteed, there are plenty of ways to start earning more as a freelancer beyond just working more frequently.
1) Reevaluate Your Pricing
When you set your rates, are you factoring in the unbillable activities that keep your freelance business operational? You may spend a significant amount of time marketing your services, updating your website, billing clients, and providing unpaid consultations. All of that time really adds up, and it can cut into your profit margins if you’re not careful.
Say you work eight hours per day, but you spend three of those hours performing tasks that don’t end up on the client’s invoice. That means you’re only getting paid for five hours of work daily. Raising your rates slightly can offset those three ‘lost’ hours so you can afford to run your business more efficiently.
Beyond boosting your rates to grow your profit margins, you may want to start charging more to reach a higher-paying client base. In some cases, raising your rates can help you market yourself as the premium option. While offering competitive rates is a great way to attract new clients in the early stages of your freelancing career, eventually you may want to start working with clients who recognize your true value.
What are other freelancers in your arena charging? You may be earning less than the competition without even realizing it. Try to find the balance between attracting clients with competitive prices while still charging what you’re genuinely worth.
2) Eliminate Frivolous Expenses
If you’re wondering how to cut costs as a freelancer, you may want to look at how much you’re spending in your personal life. After all, as a freelancer, often your personal and professional lives blend together. Are you starting every workday with an overpriced cup of coffee that you could make at home? Are you taking an Uber to client meetings when you could take public transportation? These types of small expenses really add up over time. Try to be aware of your spending, and look for ways to get the same results for less.
3) Keep Building Your Skill Set
As a freelancer, you should always be looking for ways to improve your offerings. While it may be tempting to get comfortable and stick with what you know, taking steps to refine your craft opens up exciting new possibilities. These days learning new skills is easier than ever, thanks to the internet. Many sites offer tutorials and lessons on virtually any topic. Beyond just learning online, you can also take local classes, find a business mentor, or teach a fellow freelancer your skill in exchange for learning theirs.
Imagine that you’re a freelance web developer. Spending an hour in the evenings learning a new programming language doesn’t require too much effort, but once you’re competent in the new language, you can reach more clients, charge more, and provide better work in general. Always be thinking about the big picture and ways that you can help your future self.
4) Stick to Your Schedule
In the world of freelancing, following a consistent schedule is often easier said than done. If you want to earn more money, sometimes the simple truth is that you just need to work more frequently. When it comes to scheduling, it’s important that you’re realistic with yourself. Determine how many hours you need to work to reach your income goal, then create a schedule that works for you. Are you a late sleeper? Try to keep your afternoon schedule open so you can work later. Are you a night owl? You may be able to squeeze in a few extra hours of work before bed.
5) Reduce Distractions for Freelance Success
Self-discipline is absolutely vital to the success of a freelancer. Because freelancers often work in non-traditional work spaces, such as bedrooms and coffee shops, it’s easy to get distracted. You can use social media blocking apps to keep you focused on the task at hand, as well as freelance time tracking apps that monitor exactly how long you’ve worked. Sometimes you may need to decline social invites or local events if you need to get your work done. While freedom is one of the most appealing aspects of being self-employed, it can work against you if you’re not careful.
6) Elevate Your Work Environment
Are you excited to start your workday? Where you work affects how you work. After all, countless studies have shown that morale and productivity go hand-in-hand. There are numerous ways to make your workday more enjoyable, from decorating your office to playing your favorite music. Sometimes all it takes is a few basic upgrades to reinvigorate your excitement about your chosen career path. As an added bonus, as a freelancer you can write off your business expenses. That home office of your dreams may actually be a feasible option.
Imagine that you’re using an outdated laptop. A new, cutting-edge computer may seem like a frivolous expense, but you can deduct it from your income taxes. And, if the computer gets you excited to get work done and helps you work more efficiently, the investment may end up paying for itself over time. Just remember that buying new work supplies does cut into your immediate cash flow, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each purchase carefully.
7) Focus Your Niche
Sometimes you can earn more by being the big fish in a small pond. Competition can be fierce in the freelancing arena, and honing in on a specific niche can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. If you’re a freelance event planner, you could start marketing yourself as a wedding planner or a concert booker and promoter. If you specialize in a narrower market, you can become the go-to leader in your industry.
8) Collaborate With Other Freelancers
You may be able to expand your reach by teaming up with a complementary freelancer. That way, you can bundle your services and provide one another with referrals. Say you’re a freelance blog writer. You could reach out to a graphic designer and/or a videographer. Then, if a client needs content for their website or social media pages, you can provide comprehensive solutions. Plenty of clients prefer to work with one trusted team, rather than outsourcing work from multiple parties.
9) Update Your Portfolio
Your portfolio sells you to potential clients. Every time you gain experience, develop a new skill, or complete a project, you should update your portfolio and/or resume accordingly. Beyond just updating the information, you may want to consider improving the aesthetic of your portfolio. Say you built your website two years ago. Since then, trends and technology have evolved, making your page look dated. Sometimes a visual overhaul is all it takes to attract new clients while instilling faith in your current ones.
10) Improve Freelance Success With Technology
Modern technology can drastically streamline your workday, saving you significant time and money. From freelance time tracking apps to accounting software to artificial intelligence for freelancers, there are a wide range of tools that help improve your efficiency. For example, the QuickBooks Self-Employed app can automate the invoicing process so you get paid faster. You can also use the app to track all of your business expenses in real-time, ensuring that you’re always on top of your cash flow.
When you’re a freelancer, your actions have a big impact on your income. With these tips, you can cut costs and earn more. Great record-keeping can help you track your progress. 5.6 million customers use QuickBooks. Invoice customers, accept payments, track expenses, categorize your transactions & more! Sign up for QuickBooks Self-Employed Now!